Walking out Faith: Glory be to God (column)
November 3, 2017
"Then he was told, 'Go, stand on the mountain at attention before God. God will pass by.' A hurricane wind ripped through the mountains and shattered the rocks before God, but God wasn't to be found in the wind; after the wind an earthquake, but God wasn't in the earthquake; and after the earthquake fire, but God wasn't in the fire; and after the fire a gentle and quiet whisper." (1 Kings 19:11)
When I consider what it must be to experience God's glory, this passage from the Bible is what I hope for. It speaks to God's gentle love for us, his desire that we never be given more than we can handle, and his wish for communion with us, on a deeply personal level.
A few weeks ago, as I sat in church during the Thursday evening hour of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, at St. Mary's, I was talking to God about that week's column, as I do each week before I send it in. First I asked (silently, in my mind) why God cared that we work to become our best self? And the thought was that we work to make this world better. And then I asked God what he received from our best efforts? And the thought came to me that our purpose is to give God glory.
How can I possibly give glory to God, who possesses all glory?
At Mass we sing the prayer, "Glory to God," and one of the stanzas says this about what it means to give glory to God: "Almighty God and Father, we worship you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory."
We sing these words every week, but what does this mean in our daily lives? St. Paul expressed it with this all-encompassing statement: "whatever you do, do all to the glory of God" (1 Corinthians 10:31). If we take St. Paul's direction seriously, it sets an important new standard for the choices we make each day.
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When our lives glorify God, everything we do reflects our love for God, so that others see God in us and want to experience God in their own lives. Our actions become acts of thanks giving, gratitude, and praise for God's greatness and for his love.
What does it mean to give God the glory? Thanks, and praise, certainly. But I believe that what God wants most is our love. We were created by God out of love. He sent his son, Jesus, to become human and live with us because he loved us so dearly. God seeks to bring us close to him, because he loves us.
What do you give someone who has everything? I believe love is a wonderful place to start. Even if that someone is God. To be honest, my understanding is a work in progress, but I believe this is a good place to begin: With a heart filled with gratitude, I give all honor and praise and glory to God and I love him with all my heart.
Suzanne Anderson is the author of "Love in a Time of War" and other books. You can reach her at Suzanne@suzanneelizabeths.com or facebook.com/suzanneelizabeths.
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